Last Updated on November 2, 2021 by Sloane Marie
Music, such as mantras, chanting, and instrumentals are commonly used to aid meditation. Additionally, all types of music can be listened to while meditating. In fact, mindfulness is something that anyone can do at any time in their lives, regardless of the situation. Meditation brings many benefits, such as increased awareness and recollection. Those that find music particularly interesting may find use in meditating while listening to music. Focusing on sounds, such as music, is a common meditative practice for people of all abilities.
Please take this opportunity to learn more about meditation by reading our guide to mindfulness meditation, as this will give you a greater understanding of the techniques and benefits of meditation.
Can You Meditate With Music?
You are able to meditate with music. One of the most important aspects of meditation is focusing the mind in a concentrated manner. Do not allow the mind to create feelings of desire or aversion while listening to music. Instead, allow any emotions and thoughts to arise and pass, though it is acceptable to observe – rather than entertain – these phenomena. In this manner, simply focus your attention on the music and sounds.
Instead of following along with the music and anticipating what will come, you will benefit from focusing on every moment. As your attention becomes more concentrated, you will likely find that you can separate each layer, instrument, and rhythm. You may find that it is easier to focus on a particular instrument, such as a drum, throughout the course of the song. Each time you listen to the same music, you may want to change your attention to another instrument. Additionally, you could change from focusing on a particular instrument to the rhythm.
If you find that your mind is dwelling on thoughts or focusing on the emotions that you feel while listening to the music, then simply return your concentration to the music. Do not concern yourself with feeling negative that you allowed your mind to drift, as this is not beneficial. One of the primary purposes of meditation is to become more aware and mindful, so ensure that your meditation with music is deliberate. Can you meditate with music? Absolutely.
Meditation in Nature
Meditation with music is certainly possible, as is the potential to listen to nature. Listening to a river, the ocean, rain, or other form of water may be beneficial. This will reduce the likelihood of someone who is meditating to become attached to a certain lyric or instrumental piece. As mentioned before, reducing the possibility of attachment or aversion is important during meditation. It is this sense of clinging and craving that meditation and mindfulness seek to overcome.
Another option is to focus on the sounds that animals make. Developing awareness in this manner prevents the foreknowledge of what will come. When a bird calls, practice not behaving in a surprised manner. If you find that sounds of nature cause you to feel startled, then this is an indication of how your reactions influence your life. With time, you will find that you will act in a more deliberate manner.
When understanding the question, “Can you meditate with music?” it is important to understand that meditation is a practice that is meant to be something you practice at all times. You do not have to focus your attention on the music itself. You can choose to practice other forms of meditation while listening to music. Allowing the music to play, while focusing on your breath, for example, gives you an opportunity to practice your concentration on the meditative practice that is not associated the listening to music.
Beneficial Types of Music
While listening to music with the intention of information, it is incredibly important to keep in mind the concept of Right Speech. Right Speech, or Samma Vaca is an aspect of virtue, or Sila. Abstain from meditating to music which contains lies, slander, harsh words, gossip, or idle talk. Because of this, it is common for most meditative music to be instrumental. However, mantras are also commonly used for a musical focus during meditation.
It is important to remember that the purpose of meditation is to develop your concentration, and in turn, your wisdom. According to the Noble Eightfold Path, virtue, concentration, and wisdom are the three divisions that are benefited by meditation. Specifically, these are Virtue, Sila; Concentration, Samadhi; and Wisdom, Panna. Because of this, it is beneficial to abstain from music which is detrimental to practice, such as songs that advocate for violence or drug use. It would be unfortunate to have these negative influences in your life, especially during meditation.
This is why many teachings offer other options than listening to music during meditation. Specifically, the sounds of nature are particularly useful for meditation. During the time of Buddha, meditators rarely sat in a silent building, rather they meditated underneath a tree in nature. It is worth mentioning that mindfulness of the breath is a particularly useful practice. While listening to music or the sounds of nature, you may choose to focus on your breath instead.